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Is this the TTC fare gate of the future?

Posted by Chris Bateman / February 4, 2014

ttc fare barriersThe company behind the Presto card readers due to be fitted to Toronto streetcars, buses, and at subway entrances is making a case for new automatic fare gates that would replace the current turnstiles.

TTC Chair Karen Stintz tested a prototype fare gate manufactured by Scheidt-Bachmann at the Direct Energy Centre yesterday. The German company, which has a contract to supply Toronto with the first wave of Presto card readers, is making a pitch for additional sales.

Currently, the TTC and Presto plan to retrofit all the existing turnstiles with touch pads, but that could change if the gates make financial and technical sense.

"There's a whole bunch of questions that need to be answered," says TTC's Chris Upfold, including whether the gates could withstand the deep freeze of a Toronto winter. "If the maintenance of the older turnstiles is more expensive on a year-on-year basis than a new turnstiles then maybe over the course of 15 or 20 years it would make sense to buy new."

Some turnstiles on the subway date back to the opening of the Yonge line in 1954. Quality design, simple mechanisms, and regular maintenance have kept The Canadian Beaver Co. machines working so long, TTC spokesman Brad Ross said last year.

Is the impending arrival of Presto a logical time for the TTC overhaul its fare gates or is this a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Twitter



Krissy / February 4, 2014 at 12:37 am
What prevents multiple people walking through together?
Sandy_Brown / February 4, 2014 at 12:39 am
Is that Karen Stints in the blurry photo? Or just a double for a photo op?
Ryan replying to a comment from Krissy / February 4, 2014 at 06:04 am
If they're like the ones I remember in London, they close pretty quickly. You'd have to be walking crotch to ass to get two people in at once. Doing that would probably get you noticed by an attendant.
Dewey / February 4, 2014 at 07:54 am
Where is my Presto integration? Why is Stintz looking at new turnstiles? She is not fit to be mayor with all this mess.
J / February 4, 2014 at 08:11 am
If they're like the gates in many European cities, you'll need your transfer to exit the system also!
Jeff / February 4, 2014 at 08:16 am
I imagine the bigger issue is to get rid of staff at the gates? They want to fully automate it no? I am sure the unions will have fun arguing against it.

I wonder with the European entry system and no staff if we will get fare evasion like in Europe -

Fair jumpers even created their own insurance!
NotThatDave / February 4, 2014 at 08:42 am
Those are really wide gates, I know there're just prototypes, but still.
TJ replying to a comment from NotThatDave / February 4, 2014 at 09:12 am
They aren't that wide. They're made so that wheelchairs and people with large rolling luggage can fit through. I've seen wider gates than this one even.
TJ / February 4, 2014 at 09:20 am
These gates appear to be very poorly designed:
- The "X" box indicating the direction of the gate is raised above the gate. This is asking for trouble as a protruding object. It will get knocked off. Put the indicator on the vertical base of the gate instead.

- The fare information/card balance appears to be listed on the "X" box. Again, very poorly thought-out. Put this information on the horizontal part of the gate and angle it up for the user to see as they walk by.

- It doesn't show in the picture, but this uses plexiglass gates. Fare evaders will break these and the machines as they plow through. Use a foam pad that pushes away without damaging people or the machine. Fare evaders are going to evade if they really want to. Use an alarm system to embarrass them if they do. A plexiglass gate will only cause problems and cost more than needed.

I like that the TTC is considering this, but I don't like the prototype that has these design flaws. I hate to go back to it, but the gates in Japan blow this out of the water.
craigyd / February 4, 2014 at 09:23 am
We had those at our office campus. Ryan is right, the plastic doors close extremely fast once you pass through.
iSkyscraper / February 4, 2014 at 09:34 am
See, this is where I don't understand this clusterfuck. Scheidt-Bachmann built the CharlieCard system in Boston. Why were they not hired directly to install the same in Toronto, instead of handing fucking Accenture millions and millions of dollars is a sole-source contract to break into a business they had no experience in which involved buying most of the same parts anyway? Every other city bought from the two or three established players. We decided to invent one. Idiots.

Metrolinx screwed up, big time. Fire them all.
Kevin / February 4, 2014 at 09:36 am
The advantage of the new gates would be that men would no longer have to worry about getting hit in the junk by the turnstile anymore. I think that alone could justify the extra cost.
Mike / February 4, 2014 at 09:50 am
I used one of these in 1996 in Hong Kong. So yes, it's about time we got one in Toronto.
Rick / February 4, 2014 at 09:53 am
The TTC & Presto have been working meticulously on this effort for ages now, it would appear from what I have read. I'm confident that their research and development teams have been making huge considerations into this program however with the heavy amount of money they're dumping into this, guarantee that they will ensure that it integrates successfully.
jen replying to a comment from Ryan / February 4, 2014 at 10:00 am
That happened to me in Paris, a teenaged boy came up right behind me as I went through the gate.

I like our old-timey turnstiles. They made things to last in the 50s.
Spike replying to a comment from jen / February 4, 2014 at 10:49 am
I like them too, but our 'we have to have the latest thing' society thinks otherwise.
Moaz Ahmad / February 4, 2014 at 10:55 am
$20,000 for these new fare gates (plus installation and maintenance) vs. $8,000 for a retrofit. Multiply the difference ($12,000) by 4 (avg. turnstiles per station) by the number of stations in the TTC system.
Grace / February 4, 2014 at 11:01 am
Yeah, Japan has had this kind of thing for at least 15 years. It's embarassing.
garyT / February 4, 2014 at 11:37 am
We had a system like these when I lived in Hong Kong in 1988. I think the bugs have been worked out.
Bethany / February 4, 2014 at 11:58 am
It would be much easier to get a bike on or off the subway with these gates.
CW replying to a comment from Moaz Ahmad / February 4, 2014 at 11:59 am
Retrofitting doesn't help with wheelchair/stroller/big bag/bike access.

You could retrofit the current turnstiles and put these in place of the wheelchair access gate.
Jake / February 4, 2014 at 12:55 pm
Absolute shambles. More talk and photo ops. Nothing will get done and this will all be implemented 10 years from now, where everywhere else in the world will be miles ahead with newer technology.
mar / February 4, 2014 at 01:08 pm
what is wrong with the current turnstyles? this seems like a waste of money
Michael / February 4, 2014 at 01:28 pm
Quite funny we are debating this. The "new turnstiles" have been around for 25 years in other cities, move people through much faster, are cleaner and are more accessible. Also the rider should not need to tap to open rather if they do not tap it closes - also proven better in other cities.

Bad enough we paid to get an inferior product developed from the ground up - why pay to retorfit something archaic rather than get something better suited to the needs of future crowds, children, elderly etc.

Josh / February 4, 2014 at 01:37 pm
Finally! At long last, someone is addressing the most pressing issue with the TTC - the turnstiles.
King Rob Ford / February 4, 2014 at 02:25 pm
Hare Krishna!
William / February 4, 2014 at 04:07 pm
Judging by what I hear, it sounds like fare payment will only be required for entry, but not for exit. This creates a huge problem, and will allow people to pass through the turnstile by simply waving their hand over the sensor to exit! This problem became apparent in San Francisco when MUNI installed similar turnstiles. Here are some videos of the problem; I hope that TTC officials take notice.
Jim / February 4, 2014 at 09:24 pm
If these are like the ones in Paris, you can easily hop over them.
Mitchell / February 4, 2014 at 09:33 pm
No one here has commented on the fact that some of the turnstiles on the Yonge Line are over half a century old?

I use the subway everyday, I don't see what's wrong with them. They let a single person through at a time.
Agata / February 4, 2014 at 10:07 pm
It's about time. They exist in Korea, Japan, Hong Kong… The TTC needs some advancement and convenience.
Agent Smith / February 4, 2014 at 10:31 pm
Instead of adding new turnstiles, which are mostly functional to begin with and really only need a good wipe down or tightening, shouldn't the focus be on getting rid of the bloody "buckets" and implement change counters? Most (if not all) of the other major cities in the GTA already have that implemented.

Jordan / February 5, 2014 at 12:17 am
They have these guys in London - and I honestly prefer the existing turnstiles to them. If you're not careful they can end up closing on you or your bag or your jacket. Plus you can fit fewer of them in the same area as the existing ones - which ultimately means longer lines to get in and out of a station.
Steve / February 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm
Wow! In the next 10 years we may be able to join the 1990's!
tommy / February 5, 2014 at 01:08 pm
These things are twice as wide as the exiting turnstiles. The last thing we need are fewer gates, especially when they're blocked by someone fumbling with change or their Presto card.
Nahid replying to a comment from William / February 5, 2014 at 10:47 pm
MUNI is proof of payment, so you can still get caught for not paying a fare even if you get through the gates without paying.
Geoff / February 6, 2014 at 06:10 am
Stintz for Mayor!!!
alex / February 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm
If T.O gets these gates, then FREE FARE FOR ALL ---
Spike replying to a comment from Agent Smith / February 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm
What are these 'bloody buckets'?
Spike replying to a comment from Nahid / February 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm
And MUNI is mostly LRT-top that, you subway loving fat prick of a mayor!
Agent Smith replying to a comment from Spike / February 7, 2014 at 06:27 pm
The receptacles where you'd drop the change into, in front of the flood gates and the counters.
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